Sam Allardyce says Sunderland need to reduce the four-point gap with Norwich before the trip to Carrow Road in 12 days after being left “gutted” by the Canaries’ late weekend winner.
Norwich produced what could be a decisive result in the relegation battle on Saturday after a dramatic stoppage time winner secured a 3-2 victory over drop rivals Newcastle.
That defeat left the Magpies six points adrift of safety with an inferior goal difference, yet Sunderland’s prospects aren’t much better, albeit both North East clubs boast a game in hand.
Sunderland host league leaders Leicester this coming Sunday, while Norwich – now with seven points in their last three games – travel to struggling Crystal Palace, and Allardyce believes the Black Cats cannot afford to let the four-point gulf become any bigger.
When asked about Norwich’s winner, Allardyce said: “I was gutted because there was a message came through that it was 2-2 with 88 minutes gone.
“At the end of the day, though, it really is down to us to pick up points.
“If we had got three on Saturday I would be feeling very happy and Norwich wouldn’t have mattered so much.
“We know we have to play them and we have a game in hand.
“What we don’t want to do is let that gap get any bigger.
“We have to try to reduce it before we play them.”
Allardyce sees no barrier towards Sunderland beating Leicester, despite the Foxes remaining on track for a stunning Premier League title crown thanks to victory over Southampton yesterday.
“We beat Man United here, so we can beat Leicester here as long as we are clinical, and use the right tactics,” he added.